Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Dick's recipe for the perfect Dirty Martini

I don't drink martinis, but I've been told by several friends that Dick makes the best.

This is an email that he just sent out to his family, with his step-by-step recipe on how to make the World's Best Dirty Martini. (apparently, all this time recovering at home has helped to make Dick write some pretty amusing emails!)

Dick's Dirty Martini

Start with a very good gin. I prefer Junipero. (I can hear Edward gasp from here. The world holds many fine gins beyond Tanqueray, Uncle Eddie, and Junipero is one of them. Also, it's made right here in San Francisco!) Other practical choices include Hendrick's, Plymouth, Bombay Saphire, and, of course, Tanqueray and Tanqueray Ten.

Put three or four ice cubes in your martini glass and fill the glass with water up to one-half inch from the top. This will chill the glass while you prepare your martini. I like a relatively small martini glass, 6-8oz capacity. It's more civilized than the fishbowls found in some bars.

Fill a martini shaker three-quarters full with ice cubes. Use a suitably sized shaker. I use a small one when making 1-2 drinks.

Pour a bit of dry white vermouth into the shaker (again, the gasp from Edward. Patience!). I prefer Noilly Prat, but Martini & Rossi will do. I keep my vermouth in the fridge to keep it cold. Swirl the vermouth around a bit to coat the ice in the shaker, then strain it out (exhale, Edward).

Add one-half to one tsp of olive brine to the shaker. Just take the brine right from the jar of olives. Buy the best olives you can find, at any price, but do not fall for gimmicks or side-show tricks; a martini olive is stuffed with pimento and nothing else. I buy mine from Williams-Sonoma. They are shockingly expensive, but of absolutely top quality - plump, juicy, delicious, and always consistent. One must allow for practical extravagances. I buy several jars at a time, as W-S tends to run out, and, well, you never know when the zombie apocalypse is coming.

Add the gin. I just do it by eyeball, splashing in enough to cover the ice. You can't really add too much, unless you're using an unusually large shaker, which I do not recommend. If there is more than fits in a glass, well, then you'll just have to have refills.

Shake the shaker well. Don't listen to any nonsense about bruising the gin. Martinis are to be shaken and shaken hard, like a woman in a Bogart movie.

Spear an olive with a suitable pick. The Williams-Sonoma olives are quite large, so I use only one. If you have smaller olives, use three. Two seems unbalanced, but you must arrive at your own decision on this and live with it, come what may.

The time it takes you to spear the olive and clean up a bit will let the martini sit and rest and let everything mix nicely. No need to hurry here. Now, pick up the shaker and shake her again.

Finally, empty the glass of the ice-water then strain the martini into the chilled glass. Add the olive spear.

Raise your glass, look your drinking partner clear in the eye, say "we live once" and drink.

A good martini is bracing, like a slap in the face. It should be cold, perhaps even tiny bits of ice floating on the surface. The olive juice should complement, not overwhelm, the taste of the gin. If you pucker, you've added too much. Better to add too little and leave yourself wanting slightly more. This will make your maritni poignant, like a Hemingway novel. You should just be able to taste the vermouth. Just barely.

Make each drink right before you drink it. Preparing a martini in advance is like planning a love affair; despite your best intentions it won't work out as you expect. Martinis, like affairs of the heart, are made just when you need them.

That's it.
Gin: Junipero
Vermouth: Noilly Prat
Olives: Williams-Sonoma
Shaker: small (1-2 drink size)
Glass: small (6-8 oz size)


Old Cat, New Tricks

We found and adopted our little kitty, Noe, 10-1/2 years ago when she was only 5 days old.

It never ceases to amaze us when she decides to pick up a new habit.

Noe has been very sweet about keeping Dick company most of the days (he's still recovering from his knee surgery, and is most comfortable lying and propped up in bed.). Noe is usually either snuggled up on the bed next to him, or curled up in a ball somewhere nearby on the bed.

Just last week, she decided to start burrowing underneath the sheets/comforter of our bed, after Dick steps away for a few minutes. She almost got squished by Dick when he was getting ready to flop by onto the bed on Friday - luckily, he noticed the little lump in the covers, and realized it was her right before he sat down.

Now Dick and I know that Noe may be burrowed underneath our covers, and we're remembering to look out for her before lying down. She appears to only do this on Dick's side of the bed, right after he gets up.

Dick just found Noe like this, and we couldn't resist taking some pictures.

Little cutie-pie!

Dick refused to give us his side of the bed for a cute little kitty. We lifted the comforter on my side of the bed, Dick picked her up, and moved her a few inches over, and covered her up again.

She didn't seem to mind a bit. :)

It's a good little kitty life.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

"Search your feelings, Luke..."

Darth Patella

When we were at Dick's doctor appointment yesterday, the doctor mentioned that Dick could start taking the bandages from the incision whenever he wanted to. (there are dissolvable stitches underneath.) Dick took a few off last night.

This morning, he said, "My knee looks like Darth Vader's head when Luke took his helmet off."

Okay, that was funny enough - we both had a good chuckle.

This afternoon, he took it one step further, and drew a face on his knee/lower thigh!

LOL! Seriously, we both had tears coming out of our eyes. Haven't had a laugh like that in a long time!!

I don't think we've had so many laughs from a ball point pen since The Tales of Cartoon Squash Baby, Part One and Part 2: The Delicious Demise.

Oh, the things that make us laugh. :)

Friday, May 27, 2011

"The Dick Update" - 3 weeks in

Dick, sitting comfortably in a chair for the first time in over three weeks :)

It's been awhile since my last update on Dick's recovery from breaking his patella. Today marks three weeks since his surgery. We just got back from a visit with his doctor. I was going to write a long post detailing his recovery thus far, but I see that he just sent out an email to our families, and I thought it would be easier to just copy and paste from his own words:

Hi, all -
Just wanted to give a quick knee update.

It's been three weeks since my surgery.

I saw the doctor today, and he was pleased with my progress. The redness on the knee is gone, so that's good. It's likely that it was not an infection, but in any case, it's gone.

I can bend my knee to 60 degrees (which was the goal for today). I can do leg lefts with a lot of effort, so I'll continue to do those exercises to improve range of motion and to fight atrophy on my right leg. I am also able to put weight on the leg and walk without crutches (while, of course, wearing the immobilizer).

I am now allowed to remove my immobilizer so long as I'm not putting weight on the leg. This should really help, as now I should be able to sit in a chair and a car a bit easier. I'll continue to wear the brace other times to prevent injury to the knee. The main things I have to worry about are hitting the knee (i.e., in a fall) or bending the knee to far or too fast. So, this is real progress.

I've been working almost full-time this week (from home), and have found that it has really tired me out. So, I'm not really ready to get back to 100% on my work schedule. I will probably work at home for another week or so, and take it from there.

My next appointment is in two weeks, and at that point, the doctor said they would x-ray the knee again at that time to make sure everything looked ok, and then dramatically accelerate the physical therapy. I'm a little intimidated with the PT. I imagine the training scenes from the first Rocky movie. Or possibly a ballet class run by a particularly sadistic instructor.

I asked how long it would take to "recover" and the doctor said, while every case is unique, I should expect that after about 3 months from the date of surgery I should be able to do most things I could do before. Of course, it will take longer than that to really be "normal", but I should at least be functional.

In any case, Trina and I were quite pleased. It's a long, hard road, and I'm pretty tired, but I am making progress, which is good.

Oh, and I can take showers now, which is really, really good. Believe me.


Thursday, May 19, 2011


I'm at the SF artMRKT VIP Reception. I'm working with Jim and Cynde (Adler & Co. Gallery) all weekend. We're at Booth #305. Come by to visit! (I have free passes if you need one. Just let me know!) :)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Dick, doing his best "Brick"

...which would make me Elizabeth Taylor, and I'm okay with that. ;)

Saturday, May 14, 2011

WTF (Mate)?!

Is my computer sending me subliminal messages?

I came down to my office late today, and this is what i saw on my screen:

I thought it was one of the oddest things ever. What the heck?

I checked the settings for my monitor's screen saver, and sure enough, it was on a "Word of the Day" setting. (Which I never put it on - it must be a default somewhere.)

But really, what kind of "word of the day" is "Skinhead"?

On top of that, the word "lame" was scrolling underneath the definition.

I changed the screen saver setting to rotate between some nice vacation photos instead.


Friday, May 13, 2011

3 Screws, a Pin and some Wire...

Dick had his follow-up appointment with his surgeon yesterday afternoon. They took Xrays of his patella to see the results of last week's surgery.

Dick's knee, front view

Dick's knee, side view

I think these images are pretty amazing. Considering how small of a bone the patella is, it's amazing that they were able to put the four pieces back together with all of this hardware. As Dick's Sister, Meg said, "Dude, your knee looks like you let a 5 year old with a hammer and some nails loose on it!".

The doctors were very pleased with the results so far. We'll return on Tuesday afternoon for an additional appointment. The surgeon said that it is likely that Dick will need another surgery in about a year to remove the screws, pin and wire from his knee. At that point, all of the hardware will be more painful, and his knee will have fused back together. Of course, we'll cross that bridge when the time comes.

Dick is still on pain killers every 4-6 hours, an anti-inflammatory, an antibiotic and another med to protect his stomach lining from all of these harsh drugs. He's hanging in there pretty well, all things considered. The surgery and the meds have made him tired, and he's pretty much living only on the bed or on the sofa. We did manage to get him out onto one of our balconies to soak in some sun while the weather was nice earlier this week.

So, that's the latest. Thanks again to all who have sent their messages of well-wishes. (and to Tom and MJ who sent North Carolina BBQ!!) We really appreciate all of it.

MINI Friends

It's good to see that my MINI has been making new friends in the new neighborhood. :) I should probably plan on having a play date for them soon. ;)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Elvis Costello and The Imposters

Last night, my sister and Graham treated me to see Elvis Costello and the Imposters at the Fox Theater in Oakland!

The Gorgeous Fox Theater in Oakland

The show was fantastic! The music was great, and the band sounded fantastic. Plus, there was even a Go-Go Cage!

here's the concept of the show. (from elviscostello.com):

For the first time in 25 years, Costello will let his set-list be chosen by ”The Spectacular Spinning Songbook”, a monumental game-show wheel that features 40 song-titles, including hits, rarities and very unexpected covers.

Audience members will be invited onstage where they may spin "The Wheel" and then be offered a chance to enter the "Hostage to Fortune Go-Go Cage", while their selection is performed.

Alternatively, they may choose to take a seat in the on-stage “Society Lounge”, where light refreshments will be served, during what promises to be a splendid and surprising evening.

The Stage, before the show

We had GREAT tickets!! We were in the Loge section, center.

LOVED the concept of the show: the playlist was determined by the ”The Spectacular Spinning Songbook”. A audience member was chosen to spin the wheel, and whichever song it landed on was the song that would be played next. Fun!

”The Spectacular Spinning Songbook”

Thanks, Sis and Graham for a really fun evening!!


By request, here's the set list from Monday night's performance:
(from elviscostello.com)

Elvis Costello & The Imposters
May 9th, 2011


I Hope You're Happy Now
Heart of the City
Strict Time
Mystery Dance

The Spectacular Spinning Songbook

Shipbuilding - SPIN 1

"I Can Sing A Rainbow" Jackpot - SPIN 2

Green Shirt
Blue Chair
Red Shoes/Purple Rain

The Other Side of Summer - SPIN 3
Chelsea - SPIN 4
This Wheel’s On Fire/River In Reverse - SPIN 5

Monkey To Man - SPIN 6
Counting Darkness - IMPROMPTU

Harry Worth - SPIN 7
Alison/Wind Cried Mary/Somewhere Over the Rainbow/Somewhere - SPIN 8


A Slow Drag With Josephine
Jimmie Standing In The Rain
Pump It Up - in 6/8 - Busted

The Spectacular Spinning Songbook

"Girl" Jackpot - FINAL SPIN

This Years Girl
Doll Revolution


You Belong To Me
Next Time Around
Peace Love And Understanding

Sunday, May 08, 2011

"We Are Borg"

Dick is on day 3 of recovery since having his surgery on Friday morning.

The numbing and pain medication that he received while in surgery have finally worn off. We're giving him a heavy duty pain med every 4 hours to try to relieve the pain that he's experiencing from the procedure.

Besides taking a host of medications to relieve pain, Dick is also connected to a Cooling System called a "VitalWrap". (The VitalWrap is underneath the immobilizer around Dick's knee.)

It's a great system, and we've already seen the benefits of it.

Basically, we're using this instead of balancing and changing out ice packs routinely. It's much easier, stays firmly in place, and is on pretty much 24/7, giving Dick much relief.

The first time I "plugged" Dick into it, I laughed (but not really) because he looked like a Borg. I think I may have to start calling him Locutus. ;)

Locutus Dick, plugged in

Noe is doing a really good job of taking care of Dick. She takes her job responsibilities very seriously. :)

Dick and Nurse Noe

Friday, May 06, 2011

The Little-Known Hazzards of Curling

oh, my. what an interesting week this has been.

Dick took his team out on a morale event on Tuesday afternoon. You know, a fun, team-building experience, where everyone has a great time together...

They went Curling. You know, the Olympic sport involving brooms, granite stones, and ice.

Ice. As in an ice rink. As in, a very hard, frozen, slippery surface.

I hear that the whole team had a really great time.

Everyone except, poor Dick, that is.

Dick slipped on the ice early on, and fell hard on his right knee.
He said it really, really hurt.

He had a friend drive him home, and we went to the ER that evening.
They took Xrays and confirmed that he had broken his patella. Actually, I believe the word they used was "crushed".

We went to see an Orthopedic Surgeon yesterday morning. He looked at the Xrays and said that yes, Dick's patella was in at least 3 pieces, maybe more. This surgeon only performs surgeries on Wednesdays and Fridays. Lucky for us, he had room in his schedule, and we were able to get all of the paperwork through quick enough for us to schedule Dick's surgery for this morning.

We were told to arrive for the surgery at 9:15 this morning. I brought Dick to the office, and stayed with him as long as I could before they brought him in. The surgery started around 10:15am, and finished around 12:30.

The surgeon came out to talk with me soon after he was finished. He said that Dick's patella was actually broken into 4 pieces. They had to use 3 pins, wire, and a circular wire to hold the circumference of the patella together. Poor Dick will never be able to go through a security checkpoint of an airport easily again.

The surgeon was very happy with how the procedure went. We are scheduled for a follow-up appointment next Thursday.

Until then, Dick has an immobilizer that he must keep on until he is instructed that he can take it off. He also has a cooling machine that we got to keep his knee/leg cool (instead of ice) to help with the inflammation. I have many meds to give him for pain, inflammation, infection, etc.,

So far, Dick is doing well. He managed to hop up the stairs (very carefully) and lie in bed.

Thanks to all who sent Dick well-wishes. We both really appreciate it.

I'll try to keep you all posted.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

View from Treasure Island

This evening, Pete and Richard treated us to a wonderful birthday dinner at Epic Roasthouse. Home of the $20 burger, which really is as good as P&R have been telling us! :)

The view from the restaurant is extraordinary. It's close to the base of the Bay Bridge, looking over towards Treasure Island.

The sun was just starting to set after we finished dinner, so Richard suggested that we drive across the bridge to Treasure Island to admire the view. It was a great suggestion! I hadn't been to Treasure Island in several years, and had forgotten just how beautiful the view is from there.

The Bay Bridge and the Financial District

Downtown SF

Downtown SF and the Golden Gate Bridge

The sun setting over the Marin Headlands

Dick, Pete and Richard enjoying the view from Treasure Island

Another 6 Miles

Today's 6-mile Training Walk

This was the first Saturday/Sunday training walk weekend of the season for the Warming Hut Hotties. I missed yesterday's 10-mile walk (still recovering from Birthday Festivities!) but was able to make it for today's 6-mile walk.

The Golden Gate Bridge - picture perfect at 7:30am

I know I keep saying this, but the weather was really fantastic today. Crystal clear skies, sunny, and warm. It probably got up to the mid-60s as we were walking this morning.

We met at 7:30am. When we arrived, we were greeted by a table of breakfast goodies by the wonderful Marsha, who was celebrating her birthday today! She drove all the way from Concord to deliver dozens of muffins and several gallons of orange juice to us! Apparently, she had brought them yesterday as well, but was able to participate in the walk then. I'm sure she had plenty of birthday plans to get home to today. Thank you, Marsha! I was also greeted by a lovely Birthday card from my fellow Hotties - how sweet, and unexpected! I love being a Warming Hut Hottie! :)

Marsha, and fellow Hotties, with Marsha's breakfast treats
Thank you, Marsha!!!

Today's walk took us through many parts of the Presidio. One thing that was pointed out to me today that I hadn't noticed before was the Pet Cemetery in the Presido. Actually, I'd seen the pet cemetery plenty of times last year, but what I hadn't noticed was that it has been protect from all of the construction going on around (and above it) from all of the Doyle Drive construction. The cemetery has been fenced off, but is protected.

The Pet Cemetery in the Presido

For the first time that I've walked this season, we completed right on time of our predicted completion. We had far fewer walkers today (maybe 12-15), and no lunch break, so our walk pace was back to what it normally is. We like to average around 3 miles per hour, not including potty and eating breaks. We were back to the Warming Hut by 10:00.

This morning's stats